Via:  kavika  •  4 months ago  •  22 comments


S E E D E D   C O N T E N T


Marine presents the U.S. flag to family of Navajo Code Talker Fleming Begaye, Sr.

Published May 19, 2019

CHINLE, Ariz.   — Navajo American hero and World War II Code Talker Fleming Begaye, Sr. was laid to rest in Chinle, Ariz on Friday May 17, 2019.

Despite heavy rainfall in the morning, motorcyclists from the Navajo-Hopi Honor Riders provided escort from the Silver Creek Mortuary in Tse Bonito, N.M., to a viewing at the Potter’s House Church in Chinle. Following the viewing, more than 200 attended the funeral to celebrate the life of the 97-year-old war hero.

In World War II, the Navajo men recruited by the U.S. Marines to transmit top secret combat communications using Diné Bizaad, the Navajo language, were known as Code Talkers.

In his service to country, Mr. Begaye narrowly avoided death several times. During the Battle of Tarawa, Begaye survived by swimming for his life after a Japanese bomb destroyed his landing craft.

Later, Begaye spent nearly a year in the hospital after surviving wounds endured in the taking of the Japanese base on Tinian in the Mariana Islands. Begaye also saw action on Guadalcanal.

The Navajo Code is widely thought to be the only military code that has never been deciphered, and the Code Talkers are credited with helping ensure the Allies’ victory in the Pacific theater.

Navajo Council Speaker Seth Damon (Bááháálí, Chichiltah, Manuelito, Tsé Lichíí’, Rock Springs, Tsayatoh) offered words of encouragement to Begaye’s surviving relatives in attendance and offered a Navajo Nation flag to Theo Ott, Begaye’s granddaughter.


“Fleming Begaye’s life was always dedicated to service,” said Speaker Seth Damon. “Whether it was answering the call to protect freedom in World War II or his service on the Navajo Nation, Mr. Begaye brought honor and dignity to all his endeavors. His outsized influence on the Navajo Nation will be missed by all. The Council is honored to present the Navajo Nation Flag to his family in honor of Mr. Begaye and as recognition of his devoted service to his Nation and country.”

After his military service, Begaye returned to the Navajo Nation, met his wife Helen, and served his people as a Bureau of Indian Affairs school guidance counselor. He used his savings from the position to start a series of businesses on the reservation, starting with a general store and Shell gas station in Chinle.

In addition to his business career, Begaye was a civic leader and booster for Navajo capacity-building efforts.

He served on the executive board of the Office of Navajo Economic Opportunity, the Chinle planning board and school board. Countless rodeos, churches, sports teams, schools, and even the Navajo police department enjoyed Begaye’s beneficence.

When Navajo Community College requested his help to get the first tribally-controlled institution of higher education off the ground, Begaye offered financial backing, goods, and equipment to the school.

In 2017, Begaye was honored by President Donald Trump in the Oval Office. He and former Navajo Nation Chairman Peter MacDonald, also a Code Talker, were honored for their World War II service at the White House ceremony.

Begaye received military honors at his internment at a family burial plot east of Many Farms. His U.S. Marine pallbearers gave a 21-gun salute and taps was played by a local trumpeter from his church of more than 30 years, the Potter’s House.

From a recruitment of 420 Code Talkers, there are seven living Code Talkers alive now.

Begaye’s beginnings are common to many on the Nation. He was born on sheepskin in a hogan in 1921 in Red Valley, AZ. He attended BIA schools before dropping out to join the Marines.

Helen, his wife, passed in 2008. He is survived by his daughter, Veronica Walters, six grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.


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1  seeder  Kavika     4 months ago

Of the 420 Navajo Code Talkers only seven are still living. 

The code talkers from 30 other tribes are few in number...The passing of a great generation of Native Americans and Americans...

Semper Fi Marine, RIP.

2  dave-2693993    4 months ago

Rest in Peace Marine.

Rest in Peace Cousin.

Perrie Halpern R.A.
3  Perrie Halpern R.A.    4 months ago

It's a sad day. Another one of the Greatest Generation is gone. One with special gifts, that he willing gave to this country to protect it. Another brother laid to rest. 

Semper Fi, and rest in peace.

4  Ed-NavDoc    4 months ago

Semper Fi Marine! Your tour is done. Rest in peace good Sir.

Sparty On
5  Sparty On    4 months ago

The code talkers will always have a very honored place in our history.    Semper Fi

Rip Marine .... we have the watch now.

6  seeder  Kavika     4 months ago

A outstanding article on the history of the Navajo Code Talkers......

Navajos in a U.S. Marine artillery regiment relay orders over a field radio in their native tongue.

Codemakers: History of the Navajo Code Talkers

Buzz of the Orient
6.1  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Kavika @6    4 months ago

That was a terrific article, Kavika.  It was interesting to read "Depending on pronunciation, a Navajo word can have four distinct meanings."  That is also applicable to Mandarin.  For example, the word "ma" has four meanings, depending on the way it is said.  One is "mother", one is "horse", one is an expletive of disgust, and I can't remember the fourth.

6.1.1  seeder  Kavika   replied to  Buzz of the Orient @6.1    4 months ago

The Anishinaaabe (Ojibwe) language is much the same. Inflection change the meaning of a word, and like Dine it can have a number of meanings. 

Buzz of the Orient
6.1.2  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Kavika @6.1.1    4 months ago

Often the context determines the meaning.  For example, if a person said "At the farm I rode on a "ma" today - the meaning becomes obvious.

Raven Wing
7  Raven Wing    4 months ago

Like many of the proud and honored Code Talkers before him, his service to his country and its people will never be forgotten.

May the Creator hold him in His loving hands as he proudly take the next steps of his own eternal journey.

nv-wa-do-hi-ya-dv (Peace)

8  LynneA    4 months ago

Brave warrior, may you rest in peace knowing your walk on this earth was that of a hero, to your heritage and the nation.

9  bbl-1    4 months ago

Fleming Begaye Sr. was a true American and a truer American patriot.


[All of the rest of the comments in this thread were removed as off topic as well.]

pat wilson
10  pat wilson    4 months ago

What all of the above say. I can't put it any better.

11  Enoch    4 months ago

RP to one of the patriotic heroes who composed the best of us and our nation.

He will be missed.


12  seeder  Kavika     4 months ago

I leave the article for a couple of hours and come back to a comments that have nothing to do with Mr. Begaye  and his death as an American hero...

The fact is that Jackson is known as the ''Indian Killer'' and the architect of the ''Indian removal act'' which resulted in the ''Trail of Tears'' in which thousands of Indians from SE tribes were forced from their land, and thousands died on the ''Trail of Tear''....That is a fact. I hate seeing Jackson portrait hanging in the oval office. 

But this is about Fleming Begaye his life and dead as a American hero...Did you read the battles he survived, Tarawa and Tinian...A year in a military hospital recovering from his wounds and his whole life in suffered the effects of PTSD...

That is what this article is about. To honor a man that fought for this country. 

Any other comments that are not about Fleming Begaye will be deleted....

12.1  Ed-NavDoc  replied to  Kavika @12    4 months ago

The man was a true personification of American patriotism. They don't make many like him any more.

Sparty On
13  Sparty On    4 months ago

A friends wife worked as a nurse in Chinle for about ten years.   She treated this guy.   Her comment was he had rockstar status even among the other code talkers who were still alive.  

She really liked him.

13.1  seeder  Kavika   replied to  Sparty On @13    4 months ago

Thanks for the info Sparty, 

I've read some stories about him saying the same thing but it good to get first hand info about him.

Sparty On
13.1.1  Sparty On  replied to  Kavika @13.1    4 months ago

Yw.   Tough place for a nurse to work.   As you probably know lots of alcohol problems on the Res.  

She said he was not one of them.   Sounds like he was just a really good human being.

Plus he was a Marine so that really puts him over the top!  jrSmiley_9_smiley_image.gif

13.2  Ed-NavDoc  replied to  Sparty On @13    4 months ago

A close friend of mine who was the laboratory manager of the hospital at Chinle. He had lots of stories about his interactions with Navajo Code Talkers. 


Trout Giggles
14  Trout Giggles    4 months ago

RIP, Sir

14.1  Ender  replied to  Trout Giggles @14    4 months ago



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